Ford drives environmental quality and efficiency with ESS` refrigerant compliance management software

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Courtesy of IHS

At Ford Motor Company's Van Dyke Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, 'Quality is Job 1' has always been more than a slogan. It was honored with the Quality Magazine 2008 Plant of the Year and the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality 2007 Clean Corporate Citizen awards. The plant excels because its commitment to quality extends to every facet of the business – from the performance of the transmissions they build to the efficiency of their manufacturing operations, right down to the tracking of industrial refrigerants such as R134A and R22 (both considered potential contributors to global climate change).

Mark Mack, Refrigerant Coordinator at Ford's Van Dyke Plant, has met this challenge for over 15 years using Refrigerant Compliance Management Software™ from ESS' Compliance Suite®. Mr. Mack's powerhouse team supplies the plant's steam, compressed air and refrigeration needs utilizing 140 five-ton chillers, three 1300-ton chillers, 418 panel coolers and other appliances. ESS software serves as Mr. Mack's primary tool for maintaining full compliance with US EPA regulations by accurately tracking and documenting refrigerant usage, leaks, and disposals throughout the 145-acre facility.

'I've been very pleased with ESS' Refrigerant Compliance Management Software,' declared Mr. Mack. 'Ford has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to quality and efficiency. In the early 1990s, we recognized the importance of having one automated system that could centralize our records when they started to phase out R-12 for the Clean Air Act and Montreal Protocols. Ever since then, when our Environmental Quality office comes around to make sure we have our records up to date, we rely on ESS software. All of our records are in the system for maintenance, service history, refrigerant consumption, leakage rates, warrantees and appliance information. We can quickly produce an inventory list of refrigerant equipment at any time. The software helps us manage our refrigerant recordkeeping, meet EPA compliance guidelines, and protect our refrigerant equipment.'

Ford has achieved tremendous operational efficiencies with ESS software. For example, Mr. Mack's team routinely saves more than 90% of the time that would be required to generate Environmental Quality reports using separate spreadsheets and spiral binders.

Ford's team at the plant uses their ESS software to track inventory of all refrigerant purchases, usage, disposal and components to equipment or machines as part of its internal traceability strategy. Users can immediately see what parts are on hand, what needs to be ordered and what price was previously paid. It also tracks recovery equipment and calculates leak rates. During two recent programs involving 225 new coolers, Mr. Mack estimated that his team located spare parts in less than half the time it would have taken otherwise.

'One of my favorite things about ESS software is that it's simple to use,' said Mr. Mack. 'All of the refrigerant information I need is here at my fingertips when I need it. I can always get the right answers quickly and that gives senior management confidence in my reports.'

The Challenge

  • Control/manage refrigerant inventory from purchase to disposal to meet all compliance requirements
  • Streamline refrigerant recordkeeping and reporting
  • Standardize all records for appliances, machines, prices and components including history of service details, refrigerant consumption, leakage rates

The Solution

Compliance Suite® including

  • Refrigerant Compliance Management Software™

The Results

  • Replaced dozens of spreadsheets and notebooks with one centralized system
  • Reduced by 90% the time required for Environmental Quality reporting
  • Saved 50%+ of time needed to find spare parts for coolers by utilizing complete, automated inventory
  • Enhanced management’s confidence in speedy, accurate reporting

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